Chase Freedom Student Review 2022: A Great Starter Card for College Students

GOBankingRates Score

4.3
SCORE
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Quick Take: The Chase Freedom Student credit card offers cash back with no annual fee attached. Cardholders receive 1% cash back on all purchases with no limitations. Moreover, the cash cardholders earn never expires and there's no minimum cash redemption amount. Cardholders also receive a $50 welcome bonus when they make their first purchase within three months of opening the account.
  • Earning Rewards
    4.0
  • Welcome Bonus
    3.0
  • Building Credit
    5.0
  • Fees and Interest
    5.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • $50 welcome bonus if first purchase is made during first three months after account opening
  • 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Helps establish and build credit
  • No annual fee
  • Competitive variable interest rate

Cons

  • No categories for enhanced rewards earnings
  • Rewards incentivize excess spending

    Chase Freedom Student Credit Card Overview

    The Chase Freedom Student credit card offers 1% cash back on all purchases and doesn’t have quarterly or annual limits, and there’s no minimum redemption amount. New cardholders who make their first purchase within the first three months of account membership receive a $50 welcome bonus.

    This card targets college students and young adults looking to build a credit history. With no annual fee and a competitive interest rate, this credit card’s a great choice for those in this demographic, especially if they use it to buy textbooks, for instance, or other school supplies.

    But cardholders should be aware that cash back rewards incentivize excess spending, so they should pay close attention to their balances to avoid overwhelming debt.

    Key Features

    The Chase Freedom Student credit card offers a wide range of features. Here’s a closer look at what they are.

    Earn Rewards

    Chase Freedom Student credit card members earn 1% cash back on every purchase made using their cards. There are no limits to the amount of cash cardholders can earn nor expiration dates on rewards, and cash can be redeemed in increments as small as one penny.

    The only downside to the rewards program is that the card doesn’t come with bonus categories. As a result, cardholders only earn a maximum of 1% cash back, no matter what kind of purchases they make.

    Earn a $50 Welcome Bonus

    The Chase Freedom Student credit card comes with a $50 welcome bonus that’s easy to earn. All cardholders have to do is make a purchase within the first three months of account membership.

    The welcome bonus received a GOBankingRates score of three because the amount of the bonus is minimal compared to other credit card welcome offers.

    The Discover it Student card, for example, offers a cash back match on all cash earned during the first year, which could reach well over $50 for those who use credit cards often. The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students comes with a 25,000-point welcome bonus for making $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days, which is worth a $250 statement credit. 

    Build Credit

    The Chase Freedom Student credit card targets young adults who want to build their credit as well as a stable financial future.

    The financial institution reports all activity on the card to all three major credit reporting agencies, so when cardholders use the card responsibly, their credit scores can increase

    Fees and Interest

    The Chase Freedom Student credit card comes with a competitive fee and interest schedule. Here’s a detailed look at the fee schedule.

    Fee Rate
    APR
    Balance Transfer Interest Rate
    Cash Advance Interest Rate 27.24% variable
    Penalty Interest Rate Up to 29.99% when cardholders miss a payment or their bank returns it
    Annual Fee None
    Balance Transfer Fee $5 or 5% of the amount of the transaction, whichever is greater 
    Cash Advance Fee $10 or 5% of the amount of the transaction, whichever is greater 
    Foreign Transaction Fee 3%
    Late Payment Fee Up to $40
    Returned Payment Fee Up to $40

    Other Features

    Some other exciting features of the Chase Freedom Student credit card include:

    • Purchase protection. Cardholders have access to purchase protection for products bought using the Chase Freedom Student credit card. The purchase protection covers new purchases for 120 days, and it will pay out up to $500 per claim or $50,000 per account.
    • $20 Good Standing rewards. Those who keep their accounts in good standing will receive a $20 Good Standing reward on the day after each account anniversary. This reward is available for the first five years of membership.
    • Credit limit increase. Ten months after opening an account, cardholders are eligible for a credit limit increase if they’ve made at least five monthly payments on time and meet credit criteria. Having a larger credit line generally improves FICO scores because the amount plays a major role in how those scores are calculated. When cardholders receive a credit line increase, their credit utilization score improves as long as they don’t overuse the newly available credit.
    • Free credit score. Chase offers Freedom Student credit card account holders access to their credit scores at any time. 

    Good To Know

    Age of credit history plays a major role in credit score calculations. Therefore, students that begin their credit journey early with the Chase Freedom Student card, and use their credit cards responsibly, are more likely to be approved for loans before those who don’t use credit cards early.

    Comparable Cash Back Credit Card Options

    College students and young adults looking for the perfect card to build their credit history who aren’t interested in Chase’s Freedom Student offering should consider one of the following competitive offers.

    Discover it Student Card

    Those with the Discover it Student card can earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases with no limits on earnings. Cardholders will also receive a cash back match for the first 12 months with no limit on how much extra cash they can earn through that period.

    This Discover card has a 0% introductory APR for the first six months of account membership. After that period ends, a variable rate will kick in, ranging between . Additionally, cardholders won’t pay an annual fee and there’s no penalty APR.

    Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

    The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students® offers a 25,000-point welcome bonus to new cardholders who spend $1,000 or more during their first 90 days with this particular card.

    Members also earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent. Points never expire, and there are no limits to earnings. Cardholders can redeem their points for statement credits toward travel and dining purchases.

    This Bank of America card has a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 billing cycles. After that, a kicks in. With no annual fee, this card is a great option for those who make their payments on time — missing any will lead to a penalty APR of up to 29.99%.

    The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card: A Great Choice for College Students Looking To Build Credit

    The Chase Freedom Student card gives young adults and college students a chance to earn cash back for their purchases while building their credit history. Cardholders will benefit from having no annual fee and paying a competitive interest rate on purchases. 

    Because cash back offers and other credit card rewards incentivize spending, which can lead to excessive credit card debt, only students with a strong sense of self-control and strong budgeting skills should consider signing up for this Chase college credit card or any other. 

    Final Take

    Although very easy to earn, the Chase Freedom Student credit card welcome bonus isn’t much to brag about, and the card’s reward structure doesn’t offer bonus categories.

    However, this credit card is a great, simple option for college students looking to earn cash back while building their credit history. Additionally, it offers some valuable benefits, such as $20 per year in good standing rewards for the first five years, free credit scores and the opportunity for a credit limit increase after the first 10 months.

    FAQ

    With so many credit card options out there, it can be difficult to choose the one that's best for you especially for your first card. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Chase Freedom Student credit card.
    • Is the Chase Freedom Student credit card good for students?
      • It's a good choice for young adults and college students interested in building their credit history while earning cash back on purchases. Anyone who thinks that having a revolving credit line might lead to overspending should avoid it, though.
    • Is the Chase Freedom Student card a good first credit card?
      • This Chase offering has several benefits that make it a good first credit card for college students. Chase reports activity from the card to all three major credit reporting agencies, making it possible for cardholders to build their credit history with responsible use.
      • Cardholders also receive 1% cash back on all purchases alongside the potential to earn a welcome bonus and an annual Good Standing bonus. There's no annual fee attached to this card and the interest rate is competitive.
      • The card has a solid reward structure and fair fees. It's a great way for young adults and college students to build their credit history while learning to manage a credit card responsibly.
    • Is the Chase Freedom Student credit card hard to get?
      • No, it's not. Chase designed its Freedom Student credit card for young adults in college meaning its target audience is young adults with limited credit. So it's fairly easy for students to be approved for it.
    • What happens to the Chase Freedom Student card when a cardholder graduates?
      • In many cases, Chase will convert its Freedom Student credit card into a comparable non-student version once the cardholder graduates from college, but cardholders should contact the company for specific case-by-case details. Chase may also allows product upgrades for cardholders that keep their accounts in good standing.

    Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.

    Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of July 29, 2022.

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    About the Author

    Joshua Rodriguez is a personal finance and investing writer with more than 10 years of experience. He is the founder of CNA Finance. His work has been featured on U.S. News & World Report, Money Talks News and several other mainstream outlets. 
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